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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

366        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

says towards the close of his great book on Idiocy* " from the
distinction between a circle and a square up to that between right
and wrong, we have followed a continuous path, beginning where
the function awakes to the perception of simple notions, finishing
where the faculties refuse to soar higher in the atmosphere of
idealism."    On this view the educator's first care is for the
establishment and maintenance of the purely organic functions,
since it is impossible " to ripen a crop of intellectual faculties on
a field obstructed by disordered functions."   Then comes the
education of the body—or, as Seguin prefers to call it, the edu-
cation for activity—a psychical as well as a physical process, which
includes both the sensory training that gives exact knowledge of
the facts of the world without, and the motor training that gives
outward expression through action to inward impulses.   After
the body comes the mind : after activity, knowledge.  And finally,
when knowledge in the form of general ideas has been attained,
education culminates in the training of the will, and the con-
sciousness of the moral significance of acts and ideas, that convert
the learner into a member of society, and make him a sharer in
the purposes of the universe.  There is no need to follow Seguin's
many devices for making a man out of an idiot by an ordered
progress from organic soundness to moral sanity.   The point to
be noted, as distinguishing his conception of education as a serial
development of faculties from that of most educators holding the
same view, is his persistent realization that the whole is in every
part and the end present from the beginning.   " It is impossible
to take hold of the muscular apparatus without acting on the
nerves, bones, etc.," he says, " as it is equally impossible to direct
these special instruments of activity without at the same time
exercising a reflex action on the intellect and the will."f   " We
looked at the rather immobile mass called an idiot," he says
again, as he surveys his work, " with the faith that where there
appeared to be nothing but ill-organized matter there was only
ill-circumstanced soul.   In answer to that conviction, when we
educated the muscles, contractility responded to our bidding
with a spark of volition. We exercised the senses severally, but an
impression could not be made on their seemingly material nature
without taking its rank among the accumulated idealities,   We
enlarged the chest, and new voices came out of it, expressing new
* P. 199.             f Idiocy, p. 98,